iron man 3 poster 2

After the mega success of The Avengers, Marvel is ready to begin “phase two” in their superhero saga with Iron Man 3.  With a more stripped down and semi-darker approach to the trilogy, new director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) brings us back to what made us come to love the arrogant & egotistic billionaire known as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).

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One year after the events of the Avengers, Stark is still shaken and coming to terms with that happened in New York.  However, when a string of bombings are committed by a new adversary known as The Mandarin (Ben Kinglsey); the world calls on help from Iron Man.  Stark only gets involved when it is made personal after his longtime friend and former bodyguard, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), is critically injured in another bombing from this mysterious individual.  The Mandarin is the least of his worries, as a scientist from Stark’s past named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) has been working on a program known as Extremis.  Killian has developed a powerful army with his project, but he wants to use Stark to try and fix its harmful flaws.  He will stop at nothing to get to Stark, and even uses Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as leverage.  After a destructive attack on Stark’s home, Tony is left with pretty much nothing and must now use more brains than brawn if he is going to stop The Mandarin and Killian at all costs.  Stark will not be alone in his fight though, as he finds help from a young boy named Harley (Ty Simpkins) and his best friend James Rhodes (Don Cheadle); whose previous “War Machine” suit has been rebranded as the “Iron Patriot.”

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As mentioned before, Iron Man 3 takes a slightly darker and stripped down take than the previous 2 movies.  However, there is plenty of humor and fun to still be had.  There is plenty of tongue in cheek moments and witty remarks, as well as a fun “buddy cop” vibe between Rhodes and Stark.  With Stark losing almost everything in the movie (combined with his past trauma), we get to see a more human side to his character.  As much as the franchise is called “Iron Man,” this outing is more of a movie about Tony Stark and his trials and tribulations of being a superhero.  There is still plenty of action and it all builds to a very fun and action packed battle between Extremis soldiers and Tony’s suits.

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Even though these are the first events after what happened in The Avengers, it is highly suggested not go in expecting Avengers 2.  This is Tony Stark’s story and there is plenty to be told.  The references are kept to a minimum to help keep focus.  However, there is plenty to keep continuity with past stories and to keep future stories moving along.  There is still plenty to time to help build the next Avengers story with new Thor and Captain America movies in the very near future.

Iron Man 3 is rated PG-13.  It is available in standard, 3D, and IMAX 3D formats.  Theaters will also have limited edition 3D glasses based on Tony Stark, War Machine, Iron Patriot, and Stark’s “Mark 42″ suit.

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